Skip to Main Content

COMM218 Williams

Find scholarly sources for your research paper, regarding an aspect of culture and interpersonal communication.

Scholarly sources defined

When your instructor says "scholarly journals"  or "credible journalistic sources," she likely mean articles written by a professional in your field of study, intended for other professionals in that field, and published in a venue that professionals in the field use. Professional articles are also called peer-reviewed articles.

What is a peer-reviewed, scholarly article?

Peer-reviewed articles are published with the intent of sharing new research and information from specialized fields with researchers, practitioners, and students. The process of peer review helps to ensure that each published article is unique, accurate, credible, and objective. Peer-reviewed articles can be published in various venues - print journals, online journals, and academic and research organizations’ websites.

What's the purpose of peer-reviewed, scholarly articles?

Peer-reviewed articles inform other scholars and students in higher education of new research and findings. They are meant to teach and share information, not entertain or sell things.

Characteristics of a peer-reviewed, scholarly article

  • Information is organized into sections with headings: Abstract, introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and references.
  • Long and in-depth; 10-20 pages is normal.
  • Includes graphs or tables but few, if any, images or advertisements.
  • Includes specialized or field-specific language.
  • Information is presented objectively, without bias.
  • Includes reference lists and in-text citations.
  • Published quarterly or semi-annually.

Evaluate information using the CRAP Test

Evaluating information is especially important when completing projects and assignments in college (and at work!) because you will be evaluated on the quality of sources you use. The CRAP Test is a helpful tool to use when deciding if a source is "good." CRAP stands for Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose.

When you evaluate a source, consider these four concepts by asking yourself a few questions about each.

Currency

  • When was the item originally written or created?
  • How recently has the item been updated?
  • Is the information current enough for your topic?

Reliability

  • How important is it for you that this information is accurate?
  • Are there Works Cited or References, informal citations, or links to outside sources? Are sources included for data, quotations, and images?
  • Was the item reviewed by experts or people with relevant experience?
  • Does this information have any characteristics of misinformation, disinformation, or fake news?
  • Does the information seem accurate based on your existing knowledge of the subject?

Authority

  • Who is the creator or author? What does it mean if you cannot identify the creator or author?
  • What are their credentials? Can you find any information about the author's background, education, and/or experience?
  • Who is the publisher, sponsor, or hosting website? Are they reputable? What is the publisher's interest (if any) in sharing this information? What is on their "About Us" page?

Purpose / Point of View

  • Does the information help you answer your questions, learn widely about your topic, and / or think about your topic in new ways?
  • Is the information fact or opinion?
  • Can you identify bias in the article? Does the information amplify certain viewpoints or experiences? Does the information omit or misconstrue certain viewpoints or experiences?
  • Is this information meant to educate you, persuade you, sell you something, and / or appeal to your emotions or values? If so, are these intentions clearly stated?
  • Who is the intended audience for this information? How might the audience impact what is shared and how (e.g., does this resource require in-depth knowledge to understand)? Is this information intended for you and your information needs?

CRAP Test adapted from Beestrum, M., & Orenic, K. (2008). The CRAP test. Available from http://commons.emich.edu

CRAP Test worksheets

Clackamas Community College Library - 19600 Molalla Avenue, Oregon City, Oregon 97045
Reference: 503-594-6042     |     reference@clackamas.edu     |     Circulation: 503-594-6323
Library Hours     |     Moodle     |     myClackamas     |     FAQ
Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, content in these research guides is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Link broken? Information need updating? Have website feedback? Please email reference@clackamas.edu